“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” – Gautama Buddha
Richard Dawes’ book, ‘Song of the Sword’, is the latest installment in the ‘Wolf Slayer Saga’ series. Valka the Wolf Slayer, who hails from the far North, follows the Warrior's Way. The Dragon Blood courses through his veins. It is an ancient bloodline of select initiates who ensure Events in every Age materialize as destined. In this adventure, he visits the Magical Isle of Britain, known also as Logres. There he meets King Arthur, and, with Sir Gawain and the bard, Taliesin, embarks upon a special journey – the famed Quest for the Grail.
The storyline of Song of the Sword puts to good use the allure the legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Table Round have had and continue to have on the popular imagination. King Arthur's life and exploits have been depicted many times in literature, movies and television. The King Arthur we meet in this saga, however, is aging and losing his grip on his kingdom and the Round Table Fellowship. Turmoil and strife are rampant in the land. Conspiracies abound among Knights and Lords. There are even rumors of a usurpation of Arthur's throne.
Whenever an Age is coming to an end it is foreshadowed by cataclysmic events. It is into just such a setting that Valka the Wolf Slayer enters. The author then introduces a host of characters and places that are familiar to readers: King Arthur, Merlin, Guinevere, Gawain, Taliesin, and the castle in Camelot.
The language is clean and easy to follow in spite of the many archaic and difficult topics it discusses. The book’s description of the land, the people, the battle scenes are wonderfully done and it creates a lot of excitement. The author once again explores the human condition to its fullest extent.
Valka as usual is in full flow. His legend has been established and there is no land on earth where his past exploits are not known. There is a bit of paradox in that he carries both the sensitivity of a poet and the brutality of a Viking with ease. He is always in control of his faculties and never lets man, woman or nature influence his resolve. As always, he is interested in exploring the role of Man in society. Forever on a quest to achieve a higher standard among men, he asks many deep questions. The topics raised in the book force the reader to look beyond the narrow field of knowledge and education typical of modern society.
Song of the Sword has the earmarks of a great classic and it should appeal to a wide variety of readers. It will be an exciting read even for those who have read previous versions of the Arthurian legends. The novel not only revisits the story, but gives it a fresh twist by injecting a fierce warrior like Valka into the mix. It is certainly the best saga in the series so far.
* * * * *
Paperback: 191 pages
Publisher: Melange Books, LLC; First Edition (October 11, 2016)